By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Recruiting strategies have grown increasingly complex over the years. As an industry, we’ve done a wonderful thing by taking what we know about traditional recruiting and combining it with the ideas and tactics from other industries. We’ve taken bits and pieces from industries like sales and public relations, but perhaps one of the most leaned on industries we have available to learn from is marketing. In a lot of ways, what we do is closely aligned with what marketers do on a daily basis. We’re marketing our company as an employer of choice, they’re marketing their company as a leader in whatever it is that they do. We market job openings, they market products. It makes sense that we would be taking similar actions to reach our audiences.
Though there are probably more similarities than we can discuss in one sitting, I believe that there are two major ways we resemble each other: outbound and inbound strategies.
Inbound vs. outbound
Outbound and inbound marketing both have the same end goal – to win the sale, or in our case, hire the candidate – but the ways in which the two are handled are very different. Inbound marketing refers to an unsolicited response we receive from a marketing effort, such as an advertisement or job posting. We made the initial effort of advertising the product or job, but the customer or candidate proactively contacted us. Outbound marketing refers to our efforts to find candidates or customers and solicit a response, such as through a tradeshow, career fair, online sourcing or personal leads. The difference between these two tactics is that the customer or candidate is at a different place in the buying decision, therefore our approach must be different.
For those who proactively respond to a job posting, connect with us online at the prompting of an ad or seek out a conversation, the initial buying decision of applying has ether been made or is being contemplated. It shouldn’t be discounted that the actions they took very likely have to do with your efforts to reach them through one or more touch points, but in the end they took the initiative. Those you make contact with through outbound recruiting strategies are typically not as far along in the buying decision and in fact may never have even contemplated it before. They’ll probably require more education, effort and time. The strategies required to convert these two groups of prospects must be different because they are in different places.
A perfect mix
It’s unfortunate that many companies, HR departments and recruiters tend to be really good at one or the other, but many times not both. A robust and successful recruiting strategy requires both. This is especially true as companies scale and grow over time. Pushing your jobs listings only outward is not the best way to fostering long-term relationships with candidates, which is important for building a candidate pipeline and planning for the future. On the other hand, relying only on personal connections and employee referrals closes you of from thousands of potential candidates. The most successful companies will diversify, using many different channels and tactics to reach candidates. 

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.


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